When you find your match, no one provides a handbook on how to make your relationship a successful one, and there are many insights that you often only learn after being married for some time. Happily, many relationships flourish with time and experience, and couples who actively take the time to invest in their relationships will find that the investment pays dividends. Spending time together, talking about not-so-fun topics like finances, and actively planning ways to with one another are all important activities to engage in. That’s why we’ve listed 10 of the most important lessons for maintaining a happy marriage to keep in mind and how they can help not only established couples, but those on the dating scene.
Have a Financial Plan in Place
Make sure you both set realistic financial goals. Create a budget plan for all major purchases. And save. Save now before renovations, a new puppy, children, and any other big life-changing events come into play. The more you save, the bigger the cushion you will have when unexpected things might occur. No one wants to take out a loan or put a big charge on a credit card when your roof needs to be replaced or your dog needs major surgery.
Admit When You’re Wrong
When you are married you’re bound to get into an occasional spat. It’s wise to evaluate the situation and figure out what went wrong where and who was at fault together. Chances are it’s 50/50. Once you both see the error of your ways, own up to your wrongs and move on.
Take A Break… Together
Escaping from the real world at least once a year is important. Really important: Shut off your cellphones and enjoy being in the moment together. Plan something that will allow each of you to get to learn something new about one another. If your significant other always wanted to try sailing, then book a sailing class. Taking a trip that is on the bucket list will allow both of you to relax, decompress and get to know each other on a totally new level.
Mundane can get super boring. Acts of spontaneity can be small but thoughtful, and those tend to be the moments that people really recall. Remember those couple of first dates and the initial feeling you both had? Or the first few text or phone calls that got you all excited? Keep that going. As clichéd as it sounds, keep dating your spouse. It will definitely pay off in the end.
Whether it’s buying a house, starting a business, or completing a marathon, setting goals together can be beneficial. It teaches you both how to support one another and stay focused to achieve your goals together. Make a list of what each of you needs, how you will get there together and what the next step is once you’ve achieved that goal. Set mutual and individual goals, but make sure to share them as a couple.
Spice Things Up in the Kitchen
Cooking together can teach you a lot about one another, and help you communicate much better. Enjoy some wine, put on some music, and engage something other than your smartphone. Divvy up who chops and who seasons and follow a recipe together. A study shows that over 70 percent of couples who cook together are stronger in all other areas of their relationship.
Create Your Own Traditions
Set your own traditions as a couple before anyone persuades you one what you “should be doing.” We all have that one relative who can be intrusive, but if you set boundaries early on there isn’t much they can say or do. You and your spouse set the tone for holidays, parties, and any other event that involves family and friends. Making sure that you are taking part in the things you both love and enjoy is important. Be sure to make your own memories as just the two of you.
Keeping in touch with your significant other throughout the day is a nice way to connect, whether your day is quiet or full-on stressful. Call, text, or shoot him/her an email. If you go to an event that your spouse couldn’t make, break out the smartphone and send them a video or pic. Checking in is a way to ensure a spouse that has a busy work schedule or travels for work always feels close and involved.
Yes, we all need it, so each week set a date night. Whether it’s going out to eat or ordering in your favorite takeout, make it a night dedicated to both of you, and just the two of you. Life is busy, and it you don’t make the time for one another no one else will. Set your date night early on in the week so you both have something to look forward to. Getting away from the kids for one night allows you to be a couple, and not just parents.
End on a Good Note
Going to bed mad at each other is never good. Falling asleep angry at one another can set a bad mood for the morning and probably will trigger a restless night in bed (or on the couch). So resolve any conflicts before hitting the sheets. Talk out any problems and try and resolve them. If you can’t forget them for the night trying putting the conflict to bed for the night, but make sure to discuss any unresolved issues the next day so you both can move on.
Need more marital advice? Read these helpful links to get more hints, tips, and advice:
Meghan Parisi is an accomplished freelance writer and the managing editor for a luxury design publication that covers homes in New York City, the Hamptons, San Francisco and Connecticut. Meghan enjoys traveling, exploring new restaurants and cities as often as possible. She is an avid cook and enjoys sharing her recipes on her blog: Whiskey + Aprons.